Beyond a dream: Former UK guard releases book


UK senior Mark Krebs looks out into the crowd during senior day after defeating Florida at Rupp Arena on Sunday, March 7, 2010. Photo by Scott Hannigan

Last March when former UK guard Mark Krebs met his mother, Terri, on the court at Senior Day and gave her a kiss, their two dreams converged in one place. For Mark, it was finishing an unlikely career as a scholarship basketball player for UK. For Terri, it was seeing her children reach adulthood.

That image of Mark and Terri sharing the floor of Rupp Arena is the cover of Krebs’ book, Beyond A Dream, which will be released Friday. The book blends together the lessons he learned from his mother’s fight against breast cancer with his own experiences as a UK basketball player.

One day wasn’t Krebs’ defining image of his mother — every day was. Terri, who was diagnosed with breast cancer the day Mark played his first high school basketball game, was given nine months. She lived nine years before passing away June 30, 2010, in her home.

“Senior Day is probably the culmination of the story,” Krebs said. “When you break through the banner and see your mother, that’s the touching moment. She’s sitting there out on the court, nine years after (doctors) gave her nine months.”

Krebs hopes the book, which he started in May and finished in July, helps him start a foundation in his mom’s name and inspires as many people as he can. The release date coincides with the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Using his mother’s story to achieve a greater good was Krebs’ motivation to write the book.

“Rarely do you hear about what it’s like to go through what I did from the kid’s standpoint, and not only that but a college student and a guy who played basketball,” Krebs said. “I’m in a unique position to speak about it, and I’m ready for that role because I think I can help a lot of people.”

But before he helps others, Krebs said he had to help himself. Writing the book was a source of solace after his mother passed away.

“It was tough, but I also think that when she passed away, writing the book was therapeutic more than anything,” Krebs said. “I delved into it, and it took on a whole new meaning for me. It went from being a story that needed to be told to honoring my mom and carrying on the things she was doing while she was alive.”

To write the book, Krebs read notes his family kept during Terri’s battle with cancer. He said he only knew about 10 percent of the story before reading those notes.

Krebs’ mother went through 390 chemotherapy treatments and seven surgeries. Krebs was stunned when he found out everything his mother went through — and because of how little she let others know it.

“It floored me,” Krebs said of reading the journals for the first time. “I would just read, and read, and read. Three hundred and ninety chemo treatments — I don’t know if you do, but I didn’t understand what that meant.”

Krebs said sharing the entire story along with his emotions with the public made him hesitate.

“You put your emotions out there, and the scary part is that people won’t care,” Krebs said. “But my mindset is, if I’m helping people, whether it’s a kid who wants to play Division-I basketball or a family going through a crisis, they can read this book.”

After he decided to go through with the book, Krebs said he didn’t leave any details out, giving an authentic portrayal of what he went through.

“I include letters my mom wrote me when I was a senior in high school that really affected me in the book,” Krebs said. “I include moments that were really special to me, that probably my mom didn’t even know were that special. My dad thought it was a tearjerker. He didn’t realize I was going into some of the things I did.”

Krebs had written most of the book while Terri was alive. His mother’s support was invaluable in moving toward publishing a book about their story.

“At first, she was the person who said, ‘You don’t need to write about me, or even include me,’ ” Krebs said. “But she read it for me as a reader and loved the story, loved the way I wrote it and was impressed. That meant the world to me.”

Krebs’ identity includes being a walk-on turned scholarship player for UK. In his book, he also shares stories about playing under three different coaches. The latest coach, John Calipari, wrote the foreword for the book.

Krebs said the message of the book transcends the game of basketball — and the state of Kentucky.

“The people only reading it for the Billy Gillispie stories, the Tubby (Smith) stories, the Calipari stories or what it was like being a UK basketball player — they’re going to be surprised how touching it is,” Krebs said. “They will be surprised with the process that a family went through, that my mom went through, that I went through.”